Department of Justice warns that Berkeley sanctuary status may be violating federal law

Official portrait Jonathan McElhaney
Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons

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The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the city of Berkeley on Wednesday, warning that its sanctuary policies concerning immigration status may violate federal law.

Berkeley was one of the 29 jurisdictions to receive the letter from the Department of Justice. The letter outlines two city policies that prohibit the “gathe(ring) or disseminat(ing)” of information on individuals regarding their immigration status. These policies, the letter states, “may violate” Section 1373, a federal law that bars local and state governments from prohibiting individuals from sending information to or receiving information from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, compliance with the law is a requirement for jurisdictions, such as Berkeley, receiving grants from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, or JAG, Program. The program issues a grant to local and state governments for law enforcement purposes.

“The Department is concerned that (these policies appear) to restrict the sending or requesting of information regarding immigration status, in violation of section 1373(a) and (b),” the letter said.

The letter requests that Berkeley and Alameda County submit a joint response by Dec. 8 to address these concerns and state whether the jurisdiction would comply with Section 1373 if given the Byrne JAG award for the 2017 fiscal year.

In the press release from the Department of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions urged cities to comply with the federal law in order to “properly process criminal aliens.”

“Jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law,” Sessions said in the release. “I urge all jurisdictions found to be potentially out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents.”

City spokesperson Matthai Chakko said in an email that after the city has reviewed the letter, it will “respond as appropriate,” although he did not specify how the city will respond.

Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington said the letter is referencing two specific sections of City Council resolution 63.711, but he added that he believes Berkeley’s policies are in compliance with federal laws.

Worthington said he has noticed that under President Donald Trump, the Department of Justice has tried to take away grants from sanctuary cities. Several federal judges, however, have overruled these actions.

“In reality, the city of Berkeley has been a sanctuary city for decades,” Worthington said. “It’s not something new.”

Worthington added that he felt that the Department of Justice was trying to intimidate cities for having “moral principles” and “come up with some way to say that people are breaking the law.”

“The federal government can’t tell local and state governments to do anything and everything they want,” Worthington said. “There’s restrictions on what they’re allowed to do.”

Contact Cade Johnson at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @cadejohnson98.

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  • California Defender

    The Justice Department is finally acting against cities that are violating federal law and harming their citizens as they “urge all jurisdictions found to be potentially out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents.”

    Californians WHOLEHEARTEDLY THANK the Attorney General and support a more firm approach to ending lawlessness in California that is imported by non-Californians like Kriss Worthington. He doesn’t understand our Californian culture, morality, or our belief in the democratic rule of law.

    It’s past time for Worthington to resign and return to his home in Pennsylvania.

    • Nathan Kayhan

      Regionalism is divisive, and holds back humanity from its true potential as a coherent organ of Gaia.

      • Oakley

        Lol. ☝️This fück boi

        • Nathan Kayhan

          You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • California Defender

        Nathan, there is no possible way you can out-green me. Gaia is entirely on my side.

        Without tribalism, regionalism, nationalism (call it whatever you like), humans would migrate like parasites. Breeding ever faster until there is nothing left to consume and migrating again.

        You should thank all the gods, deities, and spirits that we have borders. They save humanity from destruction. Gaia even created her own natural borders and walls to help us out.

        I’ll be thanking her in a few moments during my Thanksgiving toast!

        • Nathan Kayhan

          Happy Native American Genocide Day!

          • California Defender

            I’m not surprised you think that’s what the day means.

            You’re conflating a harvest tradition that is shared by Europeans and Amerindians alike with religious persecution.

            Both sides screwed up in the early 1600’s. The Puritans were too aggressive in trading and religious conversion and the Powhatan overreacted with a surprise attack that slaughtered over 300 colonists, nearly wiping them out. The surviving colonists felt the natives forfeited their moral and legal claims to the land after that.

            We don’t celebrate those terrible mistakes, but the friendship, sharing, and thankfulness that did exist and still does.

          • Nathan Kayhan

            You are whitewashing history.

          • California Defender

            That is exactly what precipitated the loss of Amerindian sovereignty. You need to study more, Nathan. In fact, the English colonists’ primary desire was trade, not conquest. Unlike the Spaniards who arrived in the New World a century earlier to conquer in the name of Catholicism.

            And did you know the English colonists were forced to practice communism funded by the original corporate globalists? Just as it was 400 years ago, globalism and communism are linked and feed off of each other to the detriment of the world.

          • Nathan Kayhan

            >the English colonists’ primary desire was trade, not conquest.

            “Trade” between such unequal “trading partners” effectively amounts to conquest. Vid related.

            >And did you know the English colonists were forced to practice communism

            Is this what you are referring to?

          • California Defender

            Why do think they were unequal trading partners? Forgetting that the Amerindians had the upper hand for decades before the colonies were established.

            And no. Thanksgiving was obviously not a celebration of the triumph over socialism or whatever nonsense myth Slate concocts. A lucky wet growing season led to that celebration. Period. Socialism was scrapped later due to Protestant ethics and increasingly oppressive socialism ordered by their corporate globalist masters.


          • Nathan Kayhan

            When trading partners trade, it’s never between equals. One side always has an advantage because their greater wealth gives them more leverage. A simple way to think about this is that if you can self finance your business, you’ll have a greater profit than if you have to get a loan from a bank and pay interest to start your business. In this way banks are able to increase their wealth simply by loaning it at interest. But that’s not the only way having wealth gives organizations an advantage in the marketplace, it also allows you to buy strategic assets and give themselves a massive advantage over smaller businesses. Over time a steady transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich occurs, even if all transactions are strictly rationally in the best interest for all parties, at Pareto efficiency. This bit from Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus explains this phenomena very well.

    • Pil Orbison

      I also noticed he is predator to take advantage of local nonprofit project owner when he said, “To receive funds from the City Request for Proposal, agencies should make their project documents and programs public so that they can view them at the city clerk’s office.” Well, this person who was once a Foster Care child proposed over $1M per year from the City’s General Fund for the Berkekey Homeless.” This guy is jerk and takes advantage of citizens with brain for his own benefits, and Susan Wengraf was supporting Wirthington’s idea although she is from my District 6, where my project Berkeley Rose Garden project is located. They both need to retarded. Wangraf’s personal friend/President if Partners for Parks (“BPFP”) was repairing the Rose Garden out of my and my Architect’s Presentation materials at Oct 08, 2014 by hiring someone else. The presentation materials became officially public as if August 29, 3014 via Emails sent to Secretary if Parks Rec Waterfront, and the proposed meeting September 29, 2014 was cancelled. Crazy Scott Ferris, Charlie Paths/“President of BOFP” and Susan Wengraf, and we are planning to bus on our project when Request for Proposal Money “$2.250M” becomes available. Also City MNGer increased the Bond to “$135M” at November 07, 2017 Special Meeting.

  • intec

    this is a victory for the american proletariat. i am so thankful for jds action on this matter. hopefuly we can get arreguin out of office. hopefuly we can get ice to fully enforce the law in berkeley by removing and deporting all the undocumented. one can only hope. make berkeley grate again.

    • Nathan Kayhan

      Real communists are internationalists.

      • California Defender

        Yes, very true! Although a better term to describe them is globalists.

        They seek to destroy all nations and culture in favor of one controllable mass of sheep.

        • Nathan Kayhan

          No, “Globalism” means capitalist domination of the Earth, while internationalist communism means Earth-wide distribution of resources according to a democratic process, an international economy controlled by the people instead of the powers that be.

          • California Defender

            You must be smoking the mistletoe again.

            What you refer to as “capitalist domination of the Earth” is actually the heart of leftism. There is no democracy in communism, rather control is exerted by a few elite people who develop an obedient and/or fearful population (result is the same). Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba and all the former fiefdoms in Europe and abroad who finally rid themselves of those terrible chains.

            Just as they wished, we’re being pushed towards one small global government that controls the economy that controls the consumer. Your “Earth-wide distribution of resources” is GLOBALISM.

            And I bet you bought your mistletoe at globalist Walmart.

          • Nathan Kayhan

            Marxism is but one sort of communism, and arguably not communism at all. Look up Anarcho-communism and Murry Bookchin’s communalism.

          • California Defender

            Ahh, so you’re not a Marxist? Or a Kropotkinist? A Bookchinist, eh! Libertarian communalism/municipalism is some good stuff. But it doesn’t mesh with your “Earth-wide distribution” sentiments which is communist.

            I’m a Jeffersonian libertarian, so Boochkin’s views are similar in many respects. I just favor confederalism and self-sufficiency more. You and I have more in common than we realize, but you seem to be heavily under the influence of globalism. Shake that and we can really progress here.

          • Nathan Kayhan

            >you’re not a Marxist?

            While I think “Capital” by Marx is an excellent critique of Capitalism, I don’t agree with his revolutionary strategy, or really much else of what he wrote, so no, I’m not a Marxist. Almost anyone who calls themselves a Marxist would agree, I think.

            >Or a Kropotkinist?

            Yes, I am much closer to Kropotkin than Marx. “Anarcho-communist” isn’t a bad label for me, although, like Bookchin, I have moved away from true anarchism, and towards minarchism.

            >A Bookchinist, eh! Libertarian communalism/municipalism is some good stuff. But it doesn’t mesh with your “Earth-wide distribution” sentiments which is communist.

            Yes, I disagree with Bookchin on this point to some extent, I think. While I am for local administration and democratic decision making, I want there to be more global redistribution of wealth than Bookchin does. Confederalism isn’t good enough if it allows certain municipalities/regions to leverage their power/resources over others. Saudi Arabia shouldn’t be able to become so fabulously wealthy just because it sits on top of a ton of oil. So there needs to be some sort of global wealth redistribution mechanism. I’m not sure exactly what form that should take. Any sort of taxation scheme seems like it would produce a black market, but perhaps if people felt that their taxes were truly being spent democratically, and locally controlled, then most people would choose to participate in the system. But this is still something I’m working out. But I do agree with Bookchin’s central point, which is that municipality/locality is the place to organize and make change. And you’re right, I do need to study more. But who doesn’t!?

          • California Defender

            Saudi Arabia didn’t become wealthy because they sit on top of oil. They became wealthy because globalists created global dependency on it. But no worries, it will soon run out and the House of Saud’s lavish spending will quickly make them poor again.

            But even if they did manage their money well, why should they be forced to give it away to other nations? Every nation has resources and the ability to translate that into a good quality of life for their people. But most don’t out of selfishness and incompetence. I would gladly pay for experts to train poorer nations how to manage it and keep their population LOW, LOW, LOW. But give them cash just because their horribly overpopulated nations are wearing rags and starving? Absolutely not! Such only exacerbates the problem.

            But I do like the rest of your views, my friend. You should probably re-brand yourself a populist. Or Jeffersonian libertarian if you want an intellectual mien.

          • Nathan Kayhan

            Join the anarcho-communist revolution, comrade!

          • California Defender

            Thanks for the offer, but I’m happy as a populist in service to the people.

            I hope you’ll come to that realization, too.

          • Nathan Kayhan

            Anarcho-communism is a People’s movement, comrade. The People must put aside their differences and come together as one to provide for the People’s and Planet’s needs.

          • California Defender

            Ok, sounds good. I’m all for defending the planet and people (lowercase p – which means all – not just those with uppercase P membership).

            Communism always ends with lowercase people being forced to support a totalitarian globalist regime of uppercase People. And anarchy is merely an excuse for some people, usually those who wish to become uppercase, to live a live free of responsibility – or worse.

            Again, I’m a happy libertarian-intellectual-environmentalist who has found a welcoming home in the new populist movement. You are more than welcome, too, as the movement is comprised of all stripes and types, but we put the people first. Sounds like what you were saying… right?

          • Nathan Kayhan

            I’m happy to join these populists as long as they reject markets.

          • Nathan Kayhan

            And these populists would also have to reject nationalism, racism, regionalism, sexism….